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Trini Lopez Deluxe, ’68

Sparkling Burgundy, Serial # 899091.

In 1965, Gibson added Trini Lopez to its list of artists with signature guitars. These included Tal Farlow, Johnny Smith, Barney Kessel, and the Everly Brothers. Trini Lopez was born in Dallas, Texas in 1937. Dropping out of high school his senior year, he helped support his family by playing music. He was befriended by Buddy Holly in the late ‘50s, and brought to the attention of his producer, Norman Petty in Clovis New Mexico. Lopez’s group, the Big Beats recorded an instrumental single in Clovis before Lopez left the group to go solo. After recording several disappointing singles for King Records between 1959 and 1962, Lopez was invited to California to front Buddy’s old group, the Crickets. While the job with the Crickets didn’t work out, his trip to California eventually brought him to the attention of Frank Sinatra, who signed him to his own label, Reprise Records. This venture proved successful, and earned him many hits throughout the rest of the sixties including “If I Had a Hammer” and “Lemon Tree”.

Gibson offered two different Trini Lopez models: the Standard (based on an ES-335), and the Deluxe (based on the Barney Kessel model). Each version had an asymmetrical headstock (similar to a Fender), and diamond-shaped soundholes, and fingerboard inlays.

The 1966 Gibson Catalog describes the Deluxe model: “A Gibson custom artist guitar featuring deep modern double cutaway and exceptional electronic response. Exquisitely fashioned in Curly Maple with cream binding and shell pickguard, the Trini Lopez Deluxe is styled for today’s guitarists.” success


The 1968 Trini Lopez Deluxe pictured has the standard features for that year, including: a double cutaway laminated maple body measuring 17” wide, 21” long, and 3” deep, a 24 and ¾” scale mahogany neck, two humbuckers with a volume and tone control for each, a 3-way pickup selector switch along with a standby switch, a Tune-O-Matic bridge with nylon saddles, and a trapeze tailpiece embellished with a rosewood shield and plastic nameplate. While a bright cherry sunburst was the standard finish, this example is finished in Sparkling Burgundy, common for an ES-335, but rare for a Trini Lopez Deluxe.

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